Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My prejudice for Pride & Prejudice

Most people who know me have figured out that I am an anglophile (Webster's Definition: a person who greatly admires or favors England and things English). If you have glimpsed my Goodreads account my list of English themed literature is growing daily. One of my favorite authors is Jane Austen and her 1813 book Pride and Prejudice is the 1 book I would need with me if stuck on a deserted island. The book has been adapted to the screen numerous times, in 1940 with Laurence Olivier as Fitzwilliam Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet, the uncomparable 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth and recently with Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy and Keira Knightly as Elizabeth. I have seen each adaption numerous times and depending on my mood, switch between the BBC version and the 2005 big screen adaption almost monthly. The BBC version is a masterpiece and was recently released on DVD for the 10 Anniversary Special Edition complete with extra features. When orginially shown in 6 episodes in 1995, England basically shut down on the Sundays it was shown on BBC. The recent big screen adaption with Keira Knightly garnered her an Oscar nomination and while the story is greatly compressed to fit a screen time of 2 hours, the romance is there. Keira is faithful to the character of Elizabeth and Matthew makes a softer more romantic Darcy, but it is the soundtrack, the filming locations and the coziness the director creates with the Bennet family that makes this film work.
In addition to the film adaptions, authors have based new works on the story of Elizabeth and Darcy, some with good results.
Check these books out if you want a modern retelling of one of the greatest love stories ever written.
Pride, Prejudice and Jasmine Field by Melissa Nathan

Austenland by Shannon Hale

and perhaps most famous:
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

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